Connecting to the land around you

An untitled poem

Sara Andrews
Living at the intersection of food and nature in Montana. Founder, Bumbleroot.

“Give yourself to the land, not abstract notions of the Earth or the wild, but to real places, with real live plants, bugs, animals, and people that you interact with, serve, teach, and learn from. Commit yourself to home, land, and community. Know where you live. Sink roots, get to know people, learn and know the flora and fauna of your place. Ask the fun questions. Where does the water go and where does it come from? What is possible in your home--gardens, restoration, wildcrafting, resistance? Fall in Love. Defend what you love, what you are part of and what is a part of you. Practice resurrection--of the Land!”

- John Johnson, 2002

A friend shared this last weekend and it struck a chord in me. Moving back to Montana (where Bumbleroot is now based) as an adult, I’m relearning (and learning for the first time, in most cases), the plants, animals, and the community around me. 

After years of living in cities, I’d lost touch with the seasons and the flora and fauna of my homes. That changed last year when I moved to the Paradise Valley in Montana. I’m learning where and when my favorite mushrooms grow. I’m finding new plants on the land I stay on (last week I collected elderberries & rosehips to dry for the winter). Last winter I was able to observe a mountain sheep herd and watch the change to the herd throughout the year and then watch their inevitable ascent into the mountains as the weather warmed. I'm joining local committees and slowing becoming a member of the community.

Last weekend we had our first snow and today I’ll cook some of the elderberries from my landscape and mix with honey that was a gift from a friend who has bees in another part of Montana and Baobab from my beloved Zimbabwe landscape to create a cold and flu proof sauce for fall and winter. 

What are you noticing about your home and the land and community around you?

And our friend Brian wrote this piece a few years ago on fall berry harvesting that you might find helpful to identify the berries in your area. 

(And write in if you know if you know the title of this poem).

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